Wagering on 144th Kentucky Derby breaks records

May 7, 2018 9:27 AM

Horseplayers pushed their money through the betting windows Saturday with both hands as wagering from all-sources was the highest all-time on both the entire Kentucky Derby Day program and on the Kentucky Derby itself.

The records were set in spite of the steady all-day rain that produced the wettest Kentucky Derby ever with Justify capturing the 144th renewal over a sloppy track.

Wagering from all-sources on the Churchill Downs’ program totaled $225.7 million, an 8 percent surge over the 2017 total and previous record of $209.2 million. Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby also increased 8 percent to $149.9 million from the previous record of $139.2 million set last year.

The attendance of 157,813, was the eighth highest in track history, according to track officials.

Despite record breaking wagering the NBC broadcast posted a 9.1 overnight rating and a 21 share, according to the television network. Both numbers are significantly less than last year. The 9.1 overnight rating was a 13 percent decrease from the 10.5 rating posted last year, while the 21 share was an 8.7 percent decline from the 23 share last year.

An overnight rating is a numerical measure of the number of people watching a broadcast. The share is a measure of the percentage of televisions in use that are tuned into a specific broadcast.

The decrease is being attributed to the direct competition from an NBA playoff game.